– Wales have won just one of their last nine games
– Mehdi Taremi has scored seven goals in his last nine appearances for Iran
– Recommended bets:
– Back Mehdi Taremi to score
– Return to Iran to Win or Draw (Double Chance)
Iran still have some work to do to change their situation and they need to make a difference when they meet Group B rivals Wales in Friday’s early World Cup match at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.
Persian Leopards coach Carlos Queiroz urged his team to learn from the 6-2 defeat by England, although there were few signs before the unfortunate clash of heads that left goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand dazed defeat was imminent.
Gareth Bale was inevitably the hero for Wales as they stormed back to draw 1-1 with USA, although Kieffer Moore’s substitution from the bench was probably the biggest factor in their resurgence.
The Dragons, who are one place higher than Iran in the FIFA rankings, can take a significant step towards qualifying for the knockout rounds if they can repeat their performance from Monday’s second half.
Joe Allen has been a full part of training as he bids to take part in Wales’ first World Cup in 64 years.
The Swansea midfielder, who has been out since September with a hamstring injury, joined the rest of the squad for Wednesday’s session.
But starting him on Friday would be a huge risk and Robert Page could choose to use his qualities as a substitute to end the game.
Moore, who has scored three goals in his last three Premier League games, is likely to nod forward after his impact after half-time on Monday.
Daniel James could be the unlucky striker to give way to the Bournemouth target man in the only change in Wales’ starting XI.
Iran’s biggest injury concern is goalkeeper Beiranvand, who was replaced by Seyed Hossein Hosseini after just 20 minutes on Monday.
In a collision with centre-back Majid Hosseini, who was able to continue and end the game, he suffered a broken nose and suspected concussion.
Sardar Azmoun could secure a place in the starting XI after coming on as a substitute against England.
Four of Wales’ six matches at the World Cup ended cleanly, with no team in the history of the competition finishing a higher rate (67%) of their matches at one level.
With his second-half penalty against USA, Gareth Bale became the fourth Welshman to score at a World Cup, after John Charles, Ivor Allchurch and Terry Medwin.
Moore was involved in more shots (four) against the USA than any other Welsh player and also had at least two more touches in the opponent’s box than any other team-mate.
Taremi became the first Iranian player to score multiple goals at a World Cup with his brace against England, and also the first player from an Asian country to score two goals in a single game of the competition.
Since taking up club football in Europe, Taremi has scored 24 goals and missed just three of his penalties.
Iran fell apart in the opening game after losing their first-choice goalkeeper to injury, but there were some positive results from the game which they can turn into a solid performance on Friday.
Team Melli were blown away by the dynamic midfield and ambitious full-backs of the Three Lions, but Wales are playing a man down in midfield and although their full-backs will try to get forward, Connor Roberts and Neco Williams each attempted just three crosses against the USA .
Welsh Engineering would benefit from Joe Allen’s return but he may not be ready to put in 90 minutes here and Page won’t be able to pick him anyway.
The Dragons boss picked the wrong team against the States and while he saved a decent result by correcting it, another mistake here could prove very costly.
Wales have won just one of their last nine games and Iran have enough quality in the forward areas to deserve support in the leagueto win or draw the match at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.
Taremi’s sharpness could be a deciding factor and combined with his ability to win penalties and free-kicks from around the box make him an attractive option to score in a second straight Group B game.
Qatar 2022 squad: you score, you score!
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